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At least one last hurrah for Saab

Line off: A handful of Saab cars will be completed on the orders of receivers for the bankrupt company.

Saab bankruptcy receivers send workers back to the line to finish half-built cars

4 Jan 2012

SAAB’S stalled production line in Sweden is set to roll again, if only briefly, to complete part-built cars standing on the assembly line since the company ground to a halt in April last year.

The move was approved by bankruptcy receivers who will sell the vehicles – said to be fewer than 100 – to collectors and Saab fans keen to get their hands on what could be the last few cars wearing the Griffin badge to roll out of the Trollhattan factory.

While some of the factory workers will return to their stations to complete the job, the receivers will continue to weigh up a number of offers from potential buyers for either all or part of the Saab operation.

India’s Mahindra & Mahindra and China’s Dongfeng have been mentioned in news reports as having shown interest in the company’s assets, which include a newly designed 9-3 that was to have gone into production on the company’s new Phoenix platform in the next couple years.

Saab designers are reported to have rushed to finish the design ahead of the bankruptcy application, so the receivers could see the production-ready vehicle.

They have seen it, and according to Swedish reports, are impressed.

The local Trollhattan newspaper TTELA quoted the receivers as says they have “serious parties” interested in taking over Saab, but “the obstacles are many”.

 center imageLeft: Saab Phoenix concept.

“We are working for a complete take-over and restart with the current models in place,” one of the receivers, Hans L. Bergqvist, said in the report translated by Saab fans blog Saansunited.com.

“Structures and co-operations have been established which affects the issues required to succeed. It is not easy.”

These “structures and co-operations” mentioned by Mr Bergqvist are believed to refer to the General Motors technologies used by Saab in its vehicles – the stumbling block that brought a previous rescue attempt by Chinese company Zhejiang Youngman Lotus Automobile to an abrupt halt in December, forcing Saab into bankruptcy.

GM refused to allow the Chinese company to use its licensed technologies that underpin the current Saab 9-3, 9-5 and 9-4X.

Saab Cars Australia (SCA) managing director Stephen Nicholls told GoAuto that with Sweden’s traditional Christmas shutdown continuing this week, little information was emerging from the company.

He said the receivers were still trying to get their hands around the various offers from interested parties, which could include some of the 30 or so groups who had expressed interest in buying Saab from GM originally.

“We wouldn’t expect to hear much before next week,” he said.

Mr Nicholls said SCA was still trading in Australia, and had not applied for bankruptcy like its parent.

SCA last month suspended warranty cover on its customers’ cars after the collapse of the company in Sweden, but parts supply – handled by a different branch of Saab –

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